Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

Congress Back in Sesh

HR 2267 in gear but waiting for 2268, election and lame ducks

by , Sep 14, 2010 | 7:00 am

(WASHINGTON DC) Both the House and Senate reconvened yesterday on a crisp bright fallish day in the Beltway.  After a summertime recess spent allowing members to return to their home districts, it’s time for Reps and Senators to get back to doing all the things they do in the *public eye* — and that doesn’t mean just appearing on Jay Leno.  

This will be the first opportunity for HR 2267 to take those *many* next steps on the legislative grind  to Obama’s “final table” since it passed through House Financial Services committee over six (!) weeks ago. It is also the last window for anything to happen before the November election; however, this window will close on October 8. That’s about 20 days from now, folks.

So what’s going to be happening, if anything?


Hedging Bets on Capitol Hill

How we got rid of the NFL

by , Aug 12, 2010 | 8:00 am

We just learned the NFL is backing off its long-held opposition to online gambling — removing a major obstacle from HR 2267’s path to becoming law.

It was the King-Meeks amendment that assured the league the bill would exclude sports betting. One key supporters of this measure was John Campbell, a decidedly right-wing Republican from California who, incidentally, wrote the amendment that calls for a “blacklist” of “unlawful internet gambling enterprises”.

Photo special for Pokerati © James Berglie / BePhotography
Rep. John Campbell supports the rights of Americans to gamble online, so long as they can’t bet on football.

The effort to remove sports betting gives insight into the process of converting undecideds into supporters, as seen in the video below. Just a week earlier, Campbell had told the House Financial Services Committee, “You know I don’t gamble, and I don’t particularly like it; but freedom is not about legislating what I like to do and making illegal what I don’t.”

But as it became clear during markup that the NFL would be getting what they wanted and sports bettors would not, Barney Frank, who believes all forms of online gambling deserve the consumer protections HR 2267 advocates, couldn’t resist posing a somewhat humorous, if not uncomfortable question to his colleague from across the aisle:

With both the Campbell and King-Meeks amendments passing by voice vote, later that day Campbell signed on as the 70th cosponsor (and fourth Republican) willing to align themselves with online gambling.

McDermott: “It’s very very likely” Online Gambling Bill Will Pass in 2010

by , Aug 10, 2010 | 6:02 am

Also from Gambling Compliance … This may be kinda old news now, but something else GC made available for all us poker plebes is their July interview with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), sponsor of HR 2268, the legislation that lays out the structure for a new federal online gambling taxing machine, and the “companion bill” for Barney Frank’s HR 2267, which, of course, sets up the bureaucracy that poker players collectively have been clamoring for.

McDermott makes a cautious prediction starting at about 4:57, saying, “It is very very likely that this bill will pass” before the end of the year. He then explains how and why he believes online gambling supporters on the Hill can win over the necessary Congressfolk, “one Member at a time”:

This interview came before the HR 2267 mark-up hearing, where the bill moved forward with a bigger margin of bipartisan victory than expected … presumably made easier by the various amendments added by representatives from across the country and across the political spectrum.

Because you can’t have McDermott’s bill, 2268, without 2267 — and 2267 means little in terms of practical application without 2268 — they totally go together. But until the two are merged, this dual-bill process also creates additional spots for cutthroat backstabbing shenanigans parliamentary maneuvers across the aisle should some influential sort not like the way the bill is taking shape for their client/big-donor’s competitive interest. I’m pretty sure that’s how it works … but to borrow a phrase from McDermott, not gonna say 100 percent.

So … watch and see?

Marked-Up Version of HR 2267

Note to pols: Kevmath has ya covered

by , Aug 1, 2010 | 9:06 pm

kevmath avatar

KM says: 2+2=4, bitchez

I think we all know how much Congress’s approval would soar if they had more @KevMath. While many legal- and poli-minded folks have been waiting for a “red-line” version of a marked-up HR 2267 — with properly inserted and deleted amendments, as per voice votes and roll call — Kevin Mathers took it upon himself to do what Congressional staff couldn’t … or at least hadn’t yet.

He makes no promise of 100-percent accuracy, but based on his reads, clicks, cuts and pastes … Here is a cleaned up version of what Barney Frank’s House Financial Services Committee overwhelmingly agreed to send to the floor of the House of Representatives for further legislative action — the new-and-improved HR 2267 according to Kevmath.

ALT HED: (Way) Outside Washington DC

RE: HR 2267 Passes 41-22[-1]

Semi-bipartisan support: Who Voted How

by , Jul 29, 2010 | 10:16 pm

Here is the breakdown of yesterday’s vote in the House Financial Services Committee. I’m curious about those who chose NOT to vote, and libertarian-wise … Ron Paul’s declaration of “present” — despite his stated support of HR 2267 a week earlier. Obviously had to be a reason … and Paul’s generally not afraid of his voters turning on him, and his seat seems hardly in peril.

(I posed the question to him or his people on twitter. Will look for but not expect a response, despite < 140 words finagled to sound more constituenty ... #semibluff)

Data via the PPA.

Your Guide to HR 2267 Markup Day

by , Jul 28, 2010 | 7:45 am

pic: @scarlet_lv

Editor’s Note: After seven months of what seemed like stall-and-get-nowhere — and a delay yesterday until today — the poker-friendly legislation that Barney Frank (and the PPA) has been pushing and refining since 2007 faces a critical vote. It’s an all-in situation … if we “win”, legislative matters related to online poker and gambling still have a ways and means? to go before seeing the desk of Barack Obama. However, if we lose — as we did by a tie vote back in 2008 — it’s back to the drawing board.

You can watch it all going down here, assuming there aren’t shenanigans in play to delay matters further. And because there’s always a chance I don’t know WTF I’m talking about, Pokerati has deployed a Beltway team to not only keep us posted on today’s developments from the Hill, but also to provide a primer on what’s really in play today for the future of internet gambling and/or poker in America.

You can follow reports from the Hill today on Twitter with @Scarlet_LV, and below is more about what she’s walking into.

HR 2267 Markup

A special report for Pokerati by @Scarlet_LV
photos by James Berglie / Be Photography

If all goes well, the House Financial Services Committee will decide today the fate of HR 2267, which seems to be the keystone for any new laws that stand to eliminate burdens of the UIGEA and establish a framework for the future of licensed and regulated online poker in the United States.

Today’s hearing is a “mark-up”, where the full committee debates amendments to a bill, and votes on a motion to send the bill to the House floor with recommendations on the amendments to consider for a decisive vote. Make sense?

I’m pretty sure that’s how it works — but I never would’ve expected two weeks ago when dealing the WSOP that I’d be on Capitol Hill watching a different (but not too different) game with so much riding on the deals being cut. For more explanation, see house rules and parliamentary procedures here and here.

H.R. 2267 Internet Gambling Regulation and Consumer Protection, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act.

To amend title 31, United States Code, to provide for the licensing of Internet gambling activities by the Secretary of the Treasury, to provide for consumer protections on the Internet, to enforce the tax code, and for other purposes.

Having attended last week’s meeting, I met this week with people who could fill me in on the amendments the Committee will be discussing today. Though more or fewer are possible, here’s what most expect:

  1. Barney Frank “Managers Amendment” — the contents of this will not be disclosed to anyone before the markup, but it will provide the baseline used to “define the debate”
  2. Brad Sherman –- his amendment will likely look to limit licensing to US-only companies and those that have not been acting “outside the law”.  Supposedly “smaller internet gaming companies” might be able to get around this if added to the bill, but bigger companies with a notable TV presence (such as FullTilt, PokerStars, and UB) would not be able to so easily if at all.
  3. Spencer Bachus / Michele Bachmann –- perhaps with elements of Sherman’s amendment included (I peeked over the shoulder of some lawyer suits holding it yesterday, he’s looking to completely gut the bill and more regulation to strengthen anti-gambling components of the UIGEA.

With these potential amendments, you get a sense of the driving forces currently behind the bill, and the key players. These became apparent during last week’s hearing — which sources tell me was rather unusual for a bill like HR 2267 to get a second hearing like that — as testimony from Members and witnesses helped shape matters that will be in play today.

As the mark-up proceeds, here are the different Members and groups claiming a stake in this piece of legislation.


Annie Duke to Testify Before Congressional Committee

by , Jul 20, 2010 | 3:47 am

That’s the word Annie put out about 10:30 pm last night, via twitter:

AnnieDuke Heading to DC tomorrow. Testifying Wednesday at 2pm in front of Chairman Frank’s Committee on his new legislation to regulate online gaming.
about 4 hours ago via web

Apparently it’s the real deal taking shape in DC. Annie, of course, has been in this position before and delivered admirably … and that was before she had faced off several times in front of Donald Trump in the Apprentice board room.

Still unclear how far the current package of poker-related bills can go this year. (Frank Bill, McDermott Bill, and think one other in the Senate but have lost track.) Not to be a doubter nor pose as a political Joe Navarro, but it doesn’t look promising in what’s sure to be a contentious election season when the three most powerful Dems in America (Obama, Reid, Pelosi) are kinda speaking volumes with their silence on the awesomeness — nay, the righteousness — of internet gambling.

Maybe that’s what this week’s hearing is all about?

With Annie testifying in DC, her brother Howard Lederer stepping out in a new way, and their good friend Andy Bloch taking the lead for poker engaging a wider community concerned with internet freedoms as a whole, you can tell — or at least it seems — that poker political forces have shifted gears.

Elena Kagan Plays Poker

Supreme Court nominee noted in media as “accomplished player”

by , May 12, 2010 | 1:54 am

I know poker players sometimes forget there’s a whole non-poker world out there, but really there is … and one of the big stories in the big media these days is the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan for US Supreme Court.

Turns out Kagan is known amongst her posse as something of a poker player. The only contemporary Kagan I could find in the Hendon Mob any player database is Matthew Kagan, from Cambridge, MA, who min-cashed in the 2005 WSOP main event. Definitely not her, but who knows, she’s got strong Harvard ties, maybe related … ?


Amongst the non-ideological superlatives: ABC’s Diane Sawyer trumpeted the “historic nomination” of the “five foot three inch powerhouse,” CBS’s Crawford insisted “her interests reflect her openness. She loves softball and poker” (poker reflects “openness”?) and NBC’s Pete Williams hailed her as an “accomplished poker player, opera lover.”

From CNN:

Kagan also plays poker and drinks beer, according to Litman, who described her as “someone who from early on has focused on the law’s impact on people’s lives.”

The Daily Show:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Release the Kagan

(Poker part at 1:30)


A Banner Year for Online Gambling Lobby

$5.2 million in Q1 2010

by , May 9, 2010 | 5:06 am

I can always count on the APCW to keep me updated about issues and shenanigans related to the affiliate side of the poker (and general online gambling) industry … and in this week’s episode of Perspectives Weekly, J. Todd gives what I think is one of the best, most concise summaries of the UIGEA storyline — from 2006 to 2010 — and where that leaves us today:

I agree with just about everything he says in his analysis here. If all stories have a beginning, middle, and end, you can see why he believes (as do I) that we are clearly in Part 3 … and that the law we’ve long bawked about really is on its way out by no later than October 2011.


Virginia Congressmen Implore House to Resist Repeal of UIGEA

Letter sent to Members to rally more UIGEA support

by , Apr 26, 2010 | 4:44 pm

The PPA isn’t giving up on moving Barney Frank and Jim Goodlatte’s online gambling bills through Congress before (or after) the June 1 UIGEA deadline. In response to their efforts — and perhaps testament to their progress — one of the original UIGEAers Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has joined forces with his colleague Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) in a letter encouraging all congresspeople to resist any sensible appeal to legalize internet gambling.

They seem to be playing fierce and maybe even a touch dirty. The bipartisan nature of the letter is sure to catch some undecided Congressional eyes — and in it they drop a story about a college student committing suicide after going uber-deep into online gambling debt.

Click here to read the letter circulating in Washington DC.

Poker for a Good Cause

Notable charity scores for Katkin, Darfur, Full Tilt

by , Apr 18, 2010 | 3:58 am

Before it gets too late, big congrats to Pokerati blogger-player Jon Katkin, who took 2nd place out of 220ish in the Opportunity Village Celebrity Poker Tournament at Caesars Palace last Saturday.


Katkin bought in for a single $300 tax-deductible good-cause bullet, and with blinds rising quickly, maintained a 10-20 BB stack throughout to get to the final table. There, he knocked out Howard Lederer and outlasted Allen Cunningham to win $5,000, a week’s stay in a fancy-room suite at the Rio during the WSOP main event, and $1k in food comps at any of the restos there.

Read Katkin’s take on his own game as well as PokerGrump’s impromptu coverage of the event.


Online Poker Bills Pulled from Committee Schedule

by , Apr 12, 2010 | 3:05 pm

No one should get too excited about the supposed Full Committee Hearing for the Barney Frank (D-MA) bills … engines may be revving for HR 2266 + 2267, but these bills aren’t really “moving”. At best they are spinning their wheels and at worst they are flat-out stuck in political mud.

The PPA informs us that the hearing has been “postponed [until] later next week possibly”. Its being scheduled for a Friday shoulda been the first clue that the House Financial Services Committee wasn’t really serious about having a debate on these bills. At this point in an election season, the members often try to get out of Washington DC as early as possible on a Friday so they can return to their home districts.

The whole purpose of this not-so-scheduled hearing is not for debate and mark-up … but rather to appease a Spencer Bachus (R-AL) beef, who previously complained the last time they talked about these bills that Frank did not do his due diligence and invite the Deptartment of Justice and the Treasury (and maybe the Federal Reserve?) to testify. Supposedly someone from California is also looking to speak, saying these regulatory matters should be left to the states, not the Feds.

Poker Pros Win Big Humanitarian Award

Phil Gordon, Rafe Furst honored by cancer foundation

by , Mar 15, 2010 | 3:56 pm

The Prevent Cancer Foundation presented its 2nd Annual “Cancer Champion” award this weekend in Washington DC to two Full Tilt poker pros — Rafe Furst and Phil Gordon.

You be the judge … good poker face on Spencer Bachus (R-AL) as he and his wife congratulate Rafe and Phil for their good great work fighting cancer?

Perhaps one of poker’s staunchest political opponents is softening … Either that or it’s hard to oppose money for cancer, especially at an event sponsored by Pfizer.


Joe Cada Lobbying in DC

RE: Spreading the Poker Word

by , Dec 8, 2009 | 11:37 am

That’s what the now-22-year-old WSOP Champ is doing today … meeting with Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) to help push Barney Frank’s legislation.

Live-Blogging a Relatively Minor Congressional Confab

by , Dec 3, 2009 | 7:23 am

I may or may not be talking about this morning’s House Financial Services Committee hearing on today’s episode of The Poker Beat … so that’s why I’m up listening/watching/clicking. It’s kinda a big deal, I think … we got our 6-month extension on the enforcement deadline, and now, here in Barney Frank’s committee, the good rep is basically (re-re-re?)-reintroducing legislation that could effectively undo the UIGEA.

Here’s what I’m watching. Follow along if you we can …

* Yikes, video is great – HD! – but audio sucks, like irritatingly buzzy and scratchy.

* Barney’s opening argument … personal freedom. On the internet.

* He quotes John Stewart John Stuart Mill.

* Holy shit, you can pause this video? Like even without Tivo … awesome. I’ll be right back … need to get a beverage …

* OK, I’m back. While I was gone a press release came over the wire … apparently something that will be introduced forthcoming: